LXF02-09 Print
Friday, 15 August 2008 22:06

Chapter 9 - Success and Failure



Meng Wei had always been very alert even in his sleep. A man known around the pugilist world as “Three-Headed Snake” must be a light sleeper, else his head would have been cut off a long time ago even if he had thirty heads. But when he woke up tonight, there was already a person standing at the head of his bed, watching him with a pair of almost glowing eyes. The night was still deep, there was no light in the room, so he could not make out this person’s face.

He suddenly felt that the center of his fists were covered in cold sweat. This person did not move, nor did he. He even purposefully let out a couple of snores to trick the person into believing that he was still asleep. Suddenly, he made his move as he tried to grab the sabre that was hidden underneath his armpit. But that person’s movement was even faster. As soon as his arm began to move, this person immediately pinned his shoulders down onto the bed. Never in his life had he ever met a person with such a strong pair of hands, had these hands been around his throat, his breathing would have stopped within an instant.

In reality, his breathing was almost about to stop anyways.

“What do you want?” He asked in a shaken voice.

This person’s answer was very simple.

“Money.”

“How much?” Meng Wei immediately asked.

“A hundred thousand taels!” This was quite a greedy person as well. “If you can’t hand over 100,000 taels, I’ll take your life!”

“I’ll hand the money over!” Meng Wei did not even hesitate.

“I want it all right now!”

“I can give them to you right now!”

The person suddenly began to laugh.

“Didn’t know that Boss Meng was such a generous man.”

As he laughed, his voice changed. Such a familiar voice.

“Lu Xiao Feng?” Meng Wei uttered in surprise.

“That’s me.” The person nodded.

Meng Wei took a couple of deep breaths before he gave into the urge to complain.

“That was quite a funny joke you played there, scared me half to death!”

“I wasn’t planning on playing this joke either,” Lu Xiao Feng’s answered with an apologetic laugh. “But I’m feeling particularly cheerful today!”

“You’ve caught the Embroidery Bandit?” Meng Wei’s eyes immediately lit up.

“Where’s your Boss Jin?” Lu Xiao Feng did not answer but instead asked a question of his own.

“He already went back to the city!”

“Is the poison giving him any trouble?”

“Lucky for him you immediately took him to Doctor Shi’s place, Shi Jing Mo is indeed a great doctor.”

“I have a fugitive with me, so I have to be extra careful. That’s why I could only come to you at night, I can’t let her underlings find out where I am!”

“I understand.” Meng Wei replied. Secretly, he was quite relieved with himself that he did not let Xiao Hong stay the night. He had never let a woman stay the night because he had never trusted any woman. This was a good habit that he had just decided that he must continue to uphold -- had Lu Xiao Feng found a famed prostitute such as Xiao Hong sleeping on his bed, there was a risk that Boss Jin would find out, and that could not have been a good thing.

Lu Xiao Feng quietly thought for a moment.

“Could you possibly message your people in Yang Cheng with your messenger pigeons to tell your Boss Jin to wait for me midnight tomorrow night at the pavilion where the Snake King used to live?”

“Of course!” Meng Wei jumped up from his bed and slipped on his boots. “I keep the messenger pigeons in the yard just behind here.”

“You have brush and ink here too?”

“Yes.”

“Well why don’t you write your message right now before going outside?”

Meng Wei nodded and lit a couple of lanterns before grinding out some ink.

“Master Lu has succeeded, requests Boss Jin to wait at the Snake King’s old headquarter midnight tomorrow night.”

For a man who had made a living in the Six Doors ever since he was a little kid, his writing was not all that bad, and the language flowed quite smoothly.

Lu Xiao Feng stood by his side, smiling.

“Why don’t you write it in Xiao Zhuan? That way the information won’t leak out even if it falls into the wrong hands?”

\{Note: Xiao Zhuan is a form of writing that was set down by Qing Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China, as the unifying form of writing for all Chinese. During the Han dynasty, Xiao Zhuan gradually evolved into what is pretty much the Traditional Chinese that we know today; however, the educated elite of China still studied and learned Xiao Zhuan due to its “aesthetic quality”. Though most people could not read Xiao Zhuan, it is still used in everday life, especially as seals.\}

“I’m an old, uneducated man.” Meng Wei replied with a deprecating smile. “I can’t even write Da Zhuan, nevermind Xiao Zhuan. But you don’t have to worry, these pigeons are all trained by Boss Jin personally, they won’t go astray.”

“Would he get this message in time?”

“Absolutely!” Meng Wei assured him as he rolled the message up and carefully placed it into a very delicated carved hollow tube made from a section of bamboo. There was a fire brand imprinted on the surface of the bamboo.

“Are you going to send the message now?”

“I am going right now.”

He draped an overcoat over his shoulders and hurriedly walked out. After a bit of a wait, the sound of a bird flapping its wings as it flew by could be heard overhead.

Lu Xiao Feng waited in his room the entire time, waited until he returned. Only then did he cup his fist and got ready to leave.

“I’m leaving for Yang Cheng right now!”

Meng Wei hesitated but finally had to ask.

“I was just out there, there didn’t seem to be anyone outside.”

“There isn’t.”

“Then where is First Madame Gong Sun?” Meng Wei asked with a forced smile.

Lu Xiao Feng smiled.

“If you had detained her, would you walk around out in the open with her?”

Meng Wei shook his head.

“Then how do you have her detained?”

“A secret won’t be a secret if it gets out,” Lu Xiao Feng answered with a casual smile. “Once I escorted her back, I’ll tell you when I get the chance!”

Meng Wei began to smile as well.

“Master Lu truly is a careful and methodical man. Like I said, if Master Lu would go into our profession, he would surely be the number one man in all of Six Doors!”

Unexpectedly, Lu Xiao Feng sighed in reply.

“The thing is, I know that I’l never match up to that Boss Jin of yours no matter what I do!”

“But Master Lu is the one who captured First Madame Gong Sun!” Meng Wei protested.

Lu Xiao Feng broke out into a miserible smile.

“He got me to do the hard work for him while he enjoys himself relaxing on a bed. Just based on that, you could see how much better he is than I am!”

______________________________

The set up of the little pavilion was still the same, the only difference being the person sitting in the chair. Jin Jiu Ling was lying on the chair with his eyes shut. His complexion looked excellent, and his mood was excellent as well. That delicate and fulfilling dinner tonight was still in his belly. Master Mai of BrightnessPark’s works could always be counted on to satisfy him. Besides, now that the bandit was captured, he could enjoy life without worry for another couple of years. He felt that he was indeed very fortunate, so lucky that he could find a helper as good as Lu Xiao Feng.

Even though Lu Xiao Feng had not arrived yet, he was not the least bit worried, because he knew that Lu Xiao Feng’s plan would never go awry. There was a cup of Persian wine on the table. He picked up the glow in the dark cup and slowly sipped the wine, taking his time to savor its taste. He was indeed a man who knew how to savor and enjoy life. There is not that many men like this in the world. Although Lu Xiao Feng could savor and enjoy life once in a while, unfortunately for him he was such a natural born meddler, always getting his hand in other people’s business. Jin Jiu Ling had already decided that once this case was finished, he would never ever get involved in any matter of Six Doors again.

It was at this moment that he heard a light sound on the roof. It was not a loud sound, something that a cat would make as it scuttled around on the roof. His face immediately broke out into a smile. He knew that Lu Xiao Feng must have just arrived, and that he must be carrying something heavy with him. When Lu Xiao Feng moves, he would never make a sound.

“I spent all day and night lugging this heavy chest around, all the while you were comfortably sitting here drinking wine, seems like you are just destined to live the good life!” Jin Jiu Ling had just put down his cup when he heard Lu Xiao Feng sigh outside the window.

The window was already open, Jin Jiu Ling had opened it from the inside. Lu Xiao Feng had not entered himself, but had already pushed in a very large bamboo chest.

“I’m not destined to live the good life,” Jin Jiu Ling smiled. “I’m lucky precisely because I have a friend like Lu Xiao Feng around.”

When he finished his sentence, Lu Xiao Feng was in front of him.

“You luck is really better than mine,” he asserted with a straight face. “You have all the right friends, I don’t.”

“This job really was quite difficult to get done, I figured you would be angry,” Jin Jiu Ling smiled. “That’s why I have already prepared this flask of Persian wine to drink that temper of yours away!”

The golden flask was already on the table, the wine had already been poured into the cup. Jin Jiu Ling offered it up to Lu Xiao Feng with both of his hand.

“I have just personally cooled this on ice cubs, it’s guaranteed to cool you down.”

Even Lu Xiao Feng had to smile.

“Turns out you really are something else when it comes to making others feel good. Had I been a woman, I probably would have fallen for you too.” He took the cup in his hand and drank its contents in one gulp before lifting the bamboo chest up onto the table. “What do you think is in this chest?”

“Is it an embroiderer?” Jin Jiu Ling’s eyes flickered.

“Not only can she embroider flowers, but blind men as well!”

Jin Jiu Ling’s eyes lit up.

“Lu Xiao Feng truly is Lu Xiao Feng, simply amazing!” He gave him a thumbs up.

“I don’t know how many tricks I fell for in my life because of that saying,” Lu Xiao Feng broke out into an exasperrated laugh. “But the weird thing is, I still like hearing it being said!”

“One kiss, two kisses, nothing beats kissing ass!” Jin Jiu Ling burst out laughing. “Those who does the kissing would never be wrong!”

Still laughing, he made a motion as if he wanted to open the chest.

“Hold on a second.” Lu Xiao Feng stopped him in his tracks.

“What for?” Jin Jiu Ling was caught off guard.

Lu Xiao Feng blinked.

“Do you know who this Embroidery Bandit is?”

“Isn’t it First Madame Gong Sun?”

Lu Xiao Feng nodded. “And do you know what First Madame Gong Sun looks like?” He probed further.

“No idea!”

“Well what’s your guess?”

“An old granny?” Jin Jiu Ling hesitated.

“Guess again.”

“Well even if she isn’t an old gramps, she can’t be that young, because a young woman would never do things so expertly and viciously!”

“Oh?”

“And I don’t think she would be very pretty, because a pretty woman would never willingly dress up as an old woman!”

Lu Xiao Feng sighed.

“People say that you are almost God-like in your deductions, but this time your deductions are almost pig-like.”

“Was I wrong?”

“By quite a lot!”

“Well what kind of a woman is she?”

“The kind that could literally mesmerize men to death, especially men like you!”

“And what kind of a man am I?” Jin Jiu Ling’s lips curled up in a pitiful smile.

“You are a pervert. I only hope that you don’t get hypnotized by her when you see her!”

“There are all kinds of perverts, at least I’m not the kind who has yet to lay an eye on a woman.” Jin Jiu Ling laughed and opened up the chest. He only took a peek but was still startled. The woman in the chest was indeed too beautiful, too beautiful like a sleeping rose resting among a sea of snow. Her age might not be that young anymore, but her beauty was more than enough to make people forget her age.

Jin Jiu Ling sighed.

“Looks like this job wasn’t all that bad for you after all!”

The remark elicited a cold sneer from Lu Xiao Feng.

“Where’s Hua Man Lou?” He suddenly asked.

“He left!”

“Why didn’t he wait for me?” Lu Xiao Feng frowned.

“Because he’s in a hurry to get to Mount Zi Jin!”

“To do what?”

Jin Jiu Ling sighed.

“Master of White Cloud Castle has arranged a duel with Xi Men Chui Xue on the first of the coming month at Mount Zi Jin!”

Lu Xiao Feng’s expression changed.

“There’s already quite a number of people who knew about this and not a few from around here has already left for Mount Zi Jin. From what I heard, somebody has apparently placed huge bets on the two of them. The odds are laying down 3 to 2 in favor of Ye Gu Cheng!”

“What’s today’s date?”

“The 24th!”

“If I leave right now, I might make it in time!” Lu Xiao Feng jumped up.

“But this First Madame Gong Sun....”

“My part of this whole job is finished, from head to toe, she’s all yours.”

“Are you trying to tempt me?” Jin Jiu Ling asked with an embarrassed smile.

“I just hope that you are a person who can resist temptations!”

“Don’t worry.”

“I can’t.”

“This woman is a poisonous snake, I’m not that brave you know, I’m very wary of getting bitten!” Jin Jiu Ling laughed.

“I’m worried precisely because she can’t bite right now!”

“Poisonous snakes have moments when they can’t bite?”

“I’ve already forced her to take a huge dose of her own ‘Seven Days Drink’, even if she wakes up, she still could not move for at least 2 or 3 more days.”

Jin Jiu Ling listened in silence, the name ‘Seven Days Drink’ seemed vaguely familiar to him.

“So in those 2 or 3 days, no matter what you do to her, she can’t resist. But if you really did do anything to her, then you are in big trouble, and so would I!”

“Well if you are really worried, why don’t you stay?” Jin Jiu Ling offered with a smile.

“Because I’m even more worried about Xi Men Chui Xue!” Lu Xiao Feng seemed all prepared to jump out of the window when he paused for a second. “There is still one thing I have to ask you to do for me!”

“Please don’t hesitate to ask.”

“Please find out where Xue Bing is, I don’t know how to get information from people, you do!”

“Don’t worry, even if she turned out to be a mannequin, I would still find a way to get her to talk!” Jin Jiu Ling could not refute his claim before suddenly remembering. “There’s a horse outside, I rode it here.”

It was well known that Jin Jiu Ling was a modern day Bo Le and was one of the best judges of horses around. The horse that he rode here on must have been a fine horse.

“Are you willing to let me borrow it?” Lu Xiao Feng was ecstatic.

Jin Jiu Ling nodded but then broke out into a smile.

“But... there is one thing I’m worried about!”

“What’s that?”

“The horse is a mare!”

______________________________

Lu Xiao Feng left, left with that flask of Persian wine. The sound of hooves and neighs that came from below soon became distant. That horse was truly a thoroughbred. Jin Jiu Ling pushed open the window and peered out. Down below, in the yard, someone gave him a slight nod. -- Lu Xiao Feng was on the horse. The sound of the hooves had disappeared. Only then did Jin Jiu Ling close the window, walked back to the table, and curled up the sleeves of the girl inside the chest.

On the lotus root white, smooth as jade arm, there was a dark purple, coin sized birth mark in the shape of a cloud.

Jin Jiu Ling carefully inspected it for a bit before a proud smile crept up on his face.

“She is First Madame Gong Sun!” He mumbled.

How did he know that First Madame Gong Sun had a birthmark like that? To a woman, only the people closest to her would know about this kind of secret. Jin Jiu Ling closed the lid, lifted it up, and hurriedly carried it down the pavilion. Just outside of the front door was a green feathered carriage sedan, Jin Jiu Ling, still carrying the chest with him, sat himself down onto the carriage. The two man who were suppose to carry the sedan around were none other than the two strongest bounty hunters in the city. Before he even said a word, they had already picked up the sedan and was quickly making their way down the street.

Sitting on the sedan, Jin Jiu Ling’s face was one of great satisfaction, his plan was now 90% complete. The sedan turned into an alley, and then 7 or 8 more alleys, before it finally made its way onto a real street. At the head of the alley there waited an ebony colored horse carriage.

Still carrying the chest with him, Jin Jiu Ling got off the sedan and onto the carriage. The carriage sped down the street with the driver constantly whipping the horse, controlling it as if it was an extension of his arm. He was none other than Yang Cheng’s famous bounty hunter, Lu Shao Hua.

There was nobody to be seen on the streets, at every intersection, there would be 2 men on the rooftops on either side of the road giving the same hand signals:

“There’s no suspicious night walkers out close by, there’s nobody following the carriage.”

The carriage then turned down 7 or 8 more streets. Now even the people out on the rooftops was gone. Only the two of them knew where this carriage was headed.

In the west corner of the city there was a street that was not in grid with the other streets, it was short and narrow. There were only a total of 7 buildings on this street, each of the doors were old and worn down. Of the 7, three were antique shops that sold ancient paintings and writings, but most of them were fakes, two others business which mounts wallpapers or paintings, another one was a seal carving vendor, and the last one was an umbrella shop.

This was supposed to be a very cold and deserted street, frequented only by those poor and bitter old gentries. But the carriage had stopped at the head of this street. As soon as Jin Jiu Ling got off the carriage, Lu Shao Hua immediately took off. A half-deaf half-blind old man had already opened up the doors to one of the plaster shops. Jin Jiu Ling, still carrying the chest with him, flashed into the door.

Inside the shop were a couple of shabby and not yet framed words or paintings. Jin Jiu Ling brushed a side a forgery of Tang Bo Hu’s landscapes and gently lifted up one of the bricks on the wall. A secret door immediately appeared. Behind the door was a very narrow passageway. At the end of the passageway was another door which, upon opening, incredibly led to a very well kept little yard with flowers and trees.

The yard might not be big, but every flower and tree had obviously been meticulously groomed to perfection by masters. Where the trees and bushes were the thickest was a tidy little pavilion of about 5 rooms. There were already two bright eyed, pig tail wearing maids standing at the front steps greeting him.

______________________________

First Madame Gong Sun finally woke up only to discover that she was in a very delicate female bedroom, lying on a dazzling and comfortable bed. A delicious smell that was more pure and more elegant than that of an orchid permeated the room, but where did it come from? She quietly laid there, no moving. Because she simply could not move. The shadows by the window was slightly tilted, it was not yet dusk. There were orioles chirping outside, but not a human sound could be heard.

“Anybody here?” She yelled.

Nobody answered. Her yell was not that loud anyways, because she simply did not have the strength to yell.

“Lu Xiao Feng, where did you go off to....” She gritted her teeth and almost cursed. “One of these days, you will die in my hands!”

All she could do was lie there and wait. Then suddenly, her face flushed crimson red -- she needed to relieve herself. But no matter how hard she tried, she could not move one single bit. More yelling was still to no avail. This lasted until she could literally not control it anymore, the only thing she could do was to relieve herself on the bed. This was truly quite an embarrassing matter. The bed was wet, yet she still had to lay there motionlessly. She was so mad she was on the verge of tears.

“Lu Xiao Feng, one of these days, I’ll make you beg to die.”

Suddenly, something fell from a top the canopy and landed on her. It was a snake. The one thing that scares her the most was snakes. Her face turned green in fear, but she still could not move one bit. All she could do was watch the snake crawl around on top of her. She opened her mouth to scream, but was so frightened that nothing came out.

The snake was just about to crawl onto her face when suddenly a shadow appeared. A person appeared at the head of the bed and, with a quick flick of hand, grabbed the snake and tossed it out the window. First Madame Gong Sun could at last breath a sigh of relief, but her face was already covered in cold sweat.

But this person was smiling, staring at her.

“Sorry for the scare First Madame.” The person said in a warm voice. Even though he was of middle age, he was still very handsome. Anybody could tell that the clothes he was wearing were made by top notch masters from top notch materials. But it was the smile on his face that was more captivating to woman than the clothes on his body.

First Madame Gong Sun stared at him.

“You... you are the master of this place?”

Jin Jiu Ling nodded.

“How did a snake get in your house?”

“Because I especially went out and caught it!”

First Madame Gong Sun’s expression noticeably changed.

“Why?”

“Because I had to make sure whether or not you, First Madame, is really immobile!”

“Not only did you guys make me drink an immobilizing drug, you sealed my pressure points too,” First Madame Gong Sun bitterly replied. “Isn’t that enough?”

“I have always been a very careful man,” Jin Jiu Ling smiled. “And when it comes to matters regarding you, First Madame, I have to be extra careful.”

“So you are Jin Jiu Ling?” First Madame Gong Sun finally figured it out.

“Didn’t expect that it would take you so long to recognize me!”

“Where did that Bastard Lu die and go off to?” First Madame Gong Sun angrily demanded, gritting her teeth at the mere mention of his name.

“Now that he’s done his part of the job, from head to toe, you, First Madame, are all mine!” Jin Jiu Ling smiled casually.

“Where is this? Why did you bring me here?”

“This place might not be much, but it’s at least got to be better than jail.” Jin Jiu Ling sighed and continued. “I know First Madame must have never been to prison before, that place is truly just like a pig sty. There is mosquitoes and stink bugs everywhere. If you, First Madame, went there, you would be bitten to a pulp within half a day. And if you screamed, then you would immediately be beaten. If you were unlucky enough to run into one of the meaner wardens, then you might also get a shower of urine as well.”

First Madame Gong Sun’s face was turning green again.

“You wouldn’t want me to take you to a place like that do you?” Jin Jiu Ling inquired rhetorically.

First Madame Gong Sun suddenly let out a cold laugh.

“I know what you really want!”

“Oh?”

“You just want a hand written confession from me!”

“First Madame Gong Sun is indeed a smart woman....” Jin Jiu Ling smiled.

“You want me to confess that I am the Embroidery Bandit, that I committed those heists!”

“Correct, as long as you are willing to write that confession, I will assure you that I will do you no harm, else....”

“Else what?”

“There is quite a lot of snakes around here,” Jin Jiu Ling coldly threatened. “Anytime I want to, I could go and grab a couple hundred of them!”

First Madame Gong Sun gritted her teeth again.

“How did you know that I’m most scared of snakes?”

“I have always known quite a lot of things!”

First Madame Gong Sun suddenly let out another cold laugh.

“Actually, I know quite a lot of things as well!”

“What do you know?”

“At least I know who the real Embroidery Bandit is!” First Madame Gong Sun stared straight into his eyes as she spoke, emphasizing each word.

“Who is that?”

“You! You are the real Embroidery Bandit!”

Jin Jiu Ling silently stood there at the side of the bed, that captivating smile of his had vanished. Not a trace of emotion could be found on his face.

“Actually, from the very beginning, I had suspected that you were the Embroidery Bandit!” First Madame Gong Sun continued with a sneer.

“Oh?”

“I also know that from the very beginning, you had meant for me to take the fall for you!”

“Even if I am the real Embroidery Bandit, why would I choose you to take the fall for me?”

“Because I have always been a very mysterious person, nobody knows the details about me or my background. Therefore no matter what you accuse me of doing, others wouldn’t have a hard time believing it!”

“Just because of that?”

“That, of course, was not the main reason!”

“What other reasons are there?”

“The most important reason is that, among my sisters, one is your accomplice. You want me to take the fall for you, to die in your place, but my death also let her take my position of leadership. You two were trying to kill two birds with one stone from the very start.”

Jin Jiu Ling’s expression changed slightly but quickly turned back to normal.

“Do you already know who she is?” He casually asked.

“Up until now, I still can’t say for sure, but one of these days I will find out!”

“Pity that day will probably never come!” Jin Jiu Ling coldly retorted.

“You know that after these heists occurred, people would come looking for you, because you are the number one bounty hunter within the Six Doors. It’s also because of that nobody would ever suspect you.”

“My reputation has always been a very good one.”

“You went to Lu Xiao Feng, because you knew that only he could be a match for me!”

“He truly is a very smart man, even you would have to concede that!”

“I only concede that he’s a pig.”

“But if he was a pig, how did you fall into his hands?” Jin Jiu Ling jokingly inquired.

First Madame Gong Sun bit her lip.

“Maybe he is a relatively smart pig, but a pig is still a pig!”

Jin Jiu Ling laughed.

“Precisely because he is a pig, thus he was tricked by you from the very beginning!” First Madame Gong Sun continued.

“Oh?”

“You purposefully gave that black peony to him because you knew that he would go looking for that old granny Xue!”

“I also knew that old granny Xue would surely recognize the peony was a work of a woman!” Jin Jiu Ling triumphantly smiled.

“That’s why he was wrong from the very beginning, he thought that the Embroidery Bandit was a woman in disguise!”

“Because he believed that Madame Xue’s expert eyes could never be wrong!”

“Then you purposefully instructed Si Kong Zhai Xing to steal that piece of cloth and take it to Jiang Qing Xia’s place, because you knew Jiang Qing Xia was one of my sisters!”

“Please go on.”

“From that moment on, Lu Xiao Feng had decided that this must all be the work of the Red Shoes Sisterhood!”

“Aren’t you forgetting that Si Kong Zhai Xing is the ‘King of Thieves’? Why would he listen to me and go lie to Lu Xiao Feng?”

“Because he’s the King of Thieves and you are the king of bounty hunters. Even the King of Thieves would be hard pressed not to have some lapses. He must have fallen into your hands sometime before, but you let him go, because you knew that a person like him would be useful one day in the future!”

Jin Jiu Ling sighed.

“Nobody knows about that, you guessed that one didn’t you?”

First Madame Gong Sun did not deny his claim but instead continued.

“But just because of that, Lu Xiao Feng still would not have suspected me.”

“Correct.”

“You knew that once he got to Yang Cheng, he would go to the Snake King.”

“Are you saying that the Snake King is an accomplice of mine?”

“Of course he isn’t, he’s just like Si Kong Zhai Xing, he owed you. That was why he willingly let you use him.”

“This time you are wrong!”

“Oh?”

“He willingly let me use him, because he had no other options!”

“Why?”

“The bounty hunters and the law enforcers in Yang Cheng are all my disciples or the disciple of my disciples, not to mention the fact that I had just become the Warden of the RoyalPalace. I could wipe him and all of his organization down to the last man off the face of the world any time it pleased me!” Jin Jiu Ling matter of factly answered.

“You knew that I would appear at the WestPark on the 15th of July, so you made the Snake King lead Lu Xiao Feng there too!”

“Your whereabouts may be completely mysterious to others, but I know it like the back of my hand.”

“Because there is someone among my sisters who constantly informed you of it!”

“I forged a letter and made the Snake King let Lu Xiao Feng read it,” Jin Jiu Ling was no longer denying it. “Because I knew Lu Xiao Feng was a man who hated owing favors to others and would insist on going in the Snake King’s place!”

“And it was only from that moment on that Lu Xiao Feng truly began to be suspicious of me.”

“You shouldn’t have tried to get him to eat those sugar roasted chestnuts!”

“That day I had something to take care of at the WestPark, when I am in the middle of something, I hate people who get in my way.”

“But he just had and go ask you to find look for red shoes for him!”

“That’s why he was truly very lucky not to have died that day.”

“Not to mention me.”

“But he still couldn’t be sure even then, so you and the Snake King got together and kidnapped Xue Bing!”

“Other people say she’s a tigeress. To me, she looked a lot more like a small kitten!”

“And then you purposefully let Lu Xiao Feng find those two rooms in those small alleys, making him think that they were my hideouts!”

“Setting up those 2 rooms took quite a lot of effort!” Jin Jiu Ling matter of factly replied.

“Ah-Tu, of course, was someone that you had placed there from the very beginning!”

“Because I knew the Lu Xiao Feng would have never been able to find you on his own!”

“But you had known our meeting place way before hand!”

“So I made this weird wooden casket and made Ah-Tu take Lu Xiao Feng there!”

“But why did you pretend to get poisoned?”

Jin Jiu Ling smiled.

“Because I didn’t want to go there!”

“As long as you don’t go and Lu Xiao Feng does, no matter what happens, who wins or who loses, it would have nothing to do with you!”

“I have always been a very careful man, I never do anything I’m not sure of!” Jin Jiu Ling smiled again.

“You were completely sure about this matter?”

“I knew that you are quite an amazing character yourself and would have probably already seen through my actions. I even knew that you had already killed Ah-Tu and dressed up as him. The fact that Lu Xiao Feng could find you was because you had led him there yourself!”

“You knew?” First Madame Gong Sun seemed quite surprised.

“Of course I did, but I didn’t worry about it too much!”

“Oh?”

“Because I also knew that my plan was about to come to fruition. Every clue, every piece of evidence, pointed to you are the Embroidery Bandit. Even if you knew of my plan, you still did not have a single piece of evidence to prove it.” He let out a triumphant laugh and continued. “Add on top of that Xue Bing’s disappearance and the Snake King’s death, Lu Xiao Feng would already hate you to the bone. So no matter what you claimed, he would never have believed you or let you go. Besides, I’m a famous bounty hunter with a squeaky clean reputation, not to mention his friend, while you are a mysterious female monster!”

Even First Madame Gong Sun could not help but sigh.

“You are quite correct, I don’t have a single piece of evidence. Even if I told everyone that you are the Embroidery Bandit, nobody would believe me!”

“And even if you said it now, still nobody will believe you!”

“Don’t forget that you have just confessed!” First Madame Gong Sun coldly retorted.

Jin Jiu Ling threw his head back in laughter.

“That’s right, I did just confess, but so what if I did?”

“You think that I’m the only one who could have heard what you just said?” First Madame Gong Sun snickered.

“I told you, I never do anything I’m not sure of!”

“You have already made sure that nobody was had followed you here and that I couldn’t move, that’s why you confessed?”

“I didn’t want you to die not knowing why!”

“You are not afraid that Lu Xiao Feng might burst in suddenly?”

“He might be a pig, but he runs pretty fast.” Still smiling, he reached into his shirt and took out a branded tube of bamboo. “I just received this. It came from Nan Hai on a messenger pigeon. Lu Xiao Feng had just made it pass Nan Hai and is as of now, well on his way towards Leng Ling.”

Once again, First Madame Gong Sun sighed despite of herself.

“Looks like you really have thought of everything!”

“Thank you.”

“But you will never ever get a single word of confession from out of me!”

“I thought this out as well,” Jin Jiu Ling casually replied. “This confession doesn’t necessarily have to be written by you!”

First Madame Gong Sun’s expression changed noticeably.

“I could get someone to write a thousand of these confessions any time I want to, anyone will do really. That’s because nobody knows what your handwriting looks like anyways.”

“That’s why you can kill me right now, because I resisted arrest and tried to run away, so you had to kill me!”

“This time you guessed right!” Jin Jiu Ling laughed.

“After I die, this whole matter would be at an end, for there is nobody to contradict your story.” First Madame Gong Sun bitterly gritted her teeth. “You would literally get away with it!”

“Even since I was 19, I had always felt that these criminals that get caught were all just stupid pigs. I had wanted to commit the absolute perfect crime for a long time now.”

“And now your wish has come true!”

“There’s still one last thing to do.”

“I’m not dead yet.”

“I had planned on letting you live a couple more days, you really are a rare beauty.” Jin Jiu Ling sighed. “Pity that I had just discovered that it would be best to kill you as soon as possible.”

First Madame Gong Sun stared straight into his eyes and suddenly burst out laughing.

“Do you feel that death is a very funny matter?”

“Death isn’t a laughing matter, but you are!”

“Oh?”

“If you turned around, you would know just how funny you are!”

Jin Jiu Ling turned around despite of himself and his entire body froze. Because as soon as he looked behind him, he saw Lu Xiao Feng.

Lu Xiao Feng was smiling at him.

“I’m Lu Xiao Feng, Little Phoenix, not Little Pig.”


 

Last Updated ( Saturday, 16 August 2008 04:03 )